Running a Race Alone

Until this weekend, the last 4 races I’ve done have been by myself. Racing alone is different than running with friends. And racing with friends is also different than running with friends. You have to decide before hand if you’re going to stick together or if it’s okay for someone to pull ahead if they feel up for it. So what if you’re the guy who falls behind? How do you race on your own if you’ve lost your friends or your pace group? Here are a few words of advice if the race isn’t living up to your expectations:

If you’ve been dropped by a group you were trying to stick with, do not run blindly in chase mode or you risk blowing up. Shift out of the red zone, and run at the fastest pace you can comfortably manage.

Assess the new pace: Are your muscles responding? Is your breathing manageable? Can you maintain your stride rate? If the answer is yes, lock into this pace for the duration of the race.

Focus on relaxing your posture and synchronizing your breathing with your footfalls. Breathe in for two strides and out for two strides; this respiration rate indicates a pace that is strong but manageable. Reducing tension and stabilizing your breathing will allow you to recover, enabling you to better pick up the pace later on, charging after frontrunners, and fending off those behind you.

Switch from defense to offense. Choose a target and make a concerted effort to close the gap. Be patient; trying to close the gap all at once can fatigue you all over again.

As you catch tired racers, avoid the urge to settle into their pace. Keep moving and congratulate yourself with every late-race pass.

Try some of these tips and hopefully you’ll finish near or at the goal finish time!


2 responses to “Running a Race Alone

    • Finish time of 1:54:13, so it was my 2nd fastest, but by quite a bit! It was 75-80 degrees, but a little overcast with a breeze so that helped a little. Mentally I felt a lot better about it than the half I did back in June so that’s a bonus! Next one is 9 weeks out here in downtown Indy: the Monumental Half. We’ll see how that one goes!

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